Cycling to nowhere

HIBCIt seems to be getting worse and the evidence is the buoyant business at stores like Rutland Cycles. More and more people are getting with the Lycra, buying expensive bikes and cycling round in circles. They’re not going anywhere but they’re getting miles in their legs. I guess it’s good for them, builds stamina, works the heart, develops muscle condition and increases lung capacity, but many of them don’t seem to lose much weight.

I confess to being a participant. I join the Histon & Impington Bicycle Club rides on a Sunday morning. There’s usually 20-30 people and we head off in three groups. There’s a really fast group, a quite fast group and a third one which calls itself the Gregarios is slower. That’s the group I ride with.

The standard ride is something over 2 hours for about 40 miles and I’ve been out four times this year with today’s ride being the first without wearing any cold weather gear. It was also the first time I finished ‘comfortably’ with the group, had no punctures and didn’t fall off my bike. I must be getting the hang of it and getting enough miles in my legs. Check out the map above for today’s route.

I’ve done this bike thing before. When we lived in Switzerland I rode with the company velo club where we had two sorts of rides. We either cycled round lakes, which was good fun because it was pretty flat and you could check your progress off as you cycled through each town, or we cycled up mountains which was less fun. One of the last rides I did was the Clausen Pass which involved two stretches of 700m climbs. Our biggest climb today was 70m!

When I reflect back most of the people in the club were pretty fit, some did triathlons, but somehow I stayed with them. But that was 25 years ago. I remember my weight went down to 65kg but because the exercise gave me such good muscle condition when I later went in for a hip replacement op it went very well. I’m still operating with the same hip a quarter of a century later and today I weigh in just below 70kg which feels about right for me.

I had a really good feeling when I came back from today’s ride. I guess it means my basic health is pretty good. I reckon if that’s the case then it’s no big tragedy if other parts of my life (exclude the family here) aren’t functioning 100% perfectly. I’ll drink to that so it’s another bottle of decent red this evening.


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